Already giving up on New Year’s resolution? Studies show only eight percent succeed in achieving goal

Already giving up on New Year’s resolution? Studies show only eight percent succeed in achieving goal

Aaron Tam, Opinion Editor

Although the winter is usually marked by gloomy, gray weather and shorter, darker days, for many people the new year also represents a clean slate and a hope for positive changes — otherwise known as a New Year’s resolution.

Unfortunately, many of these New Year “resolutioners” will never make it to the finish line. According to research by the University of Scranton, only eight percent of people accomplish their New Year’s resolution.

In a country where an estimated two-thirds of the adult population is overweight, it is no surprise that losing weight, becoming more healthy and other fitness goals rank among the most popular New Year’s resolutions.

“Well, one of my goals is to be healthier because I don’t exercise that much but exercise is good for practically everything,” senior Sophie Gilliland said.

This whole “new year, new me” mentality is so ingrained in American culture that gym memberships jump 12 percent in the month of January alone. Most, if not all, of these members who join in January begin to lose their motivation within 24 weeks, and they often discontinue their memberships or just simply stop attending, as noted by the Fitness Industry Association.

Despite the high failure rate many refuse to be deterred from setting resolutions, even if failure tends to be inevitable. Some say the reason to the low success rate is simple: people set overly ambitious goals that are unattainable.

For example, a resolution for those who want to lose weight might be to lose 50 pounds by summer. But is that a healthy or a realistic goal?

Experts suggest setting more realistic goals that are attainable and measurable. Those trying to eliminate fast food from their diet should limit their fast food limit to once a week rather than quitting altogether.

By setting smaller goals that gradually lead to the larger goal, instead of simply focusing on the large goal all at once, the resolution becomes a lot easier and manageable.

“If anything, when you start a resolution, don’t say, ‘I’m never gonna do this,’ because it sets a really high standard; just say [I’m going to] try not to do it,” senior Chris Gevara said.

Breaking down large goals into smaller chunks to achieve success is an idea backed by science, specifically a concept known as dopamine rewarding. When much smaller goals are easily accomplished, the brain will release a chemical known as dopamine that is responsible for the “happy feeling” as a reward for completing the task at hand.

Over time this constant burst of dopamine will train the brain to associate completing this small task with happiness, making the task a much more enjoyable experience.

“My new year’s resolution is gaining more weight,” junior Wilbur Berries said. “So far it’s been going pretty good. I’m going to the gym more and I’m on a meal plan to gain muscle mass.”

So for the many students with high aspirations and dreams for their resolution, make attaining goals easier by breaking the larger resolution into much smaller stepping stones that ultimately lead to your dream.